Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the summary denial of Defendant's pro se motion, which Defendant called a combined "motion to correct illegal sentence" and "motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction," holding that Defendant failed to establish that his sentence was illegal and that Defendant could not overcome the procedural hurdles of the motion being successive and filed outside the statutory time limit. In his combined motion, Defendant requested that his convictions be reversed, invoking Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504 as the basis for jurisdiction. The district court summarily dismissed the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant cannot collaterally attack a conviction through a motion to correct an illegal sentence filed under section 22-3504 claiming that a defective complaint meant the district court lacked jurisdiction to convict; (2) the district court lacked jurisdiction over Defendant's motion to dismiss; and (3) Defendant's motion could not be considered as one filed under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 because such a motion is procedurally barred. View "State v. Robertson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant a third time for two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of robbery, holding that Defendant's second sentence was legally imposed, and this Court's subsequent decision in State v. Keel, 357 P.3d 251 (Kan. 2015), did not render that sentence illegal. In his first appeal, Defendant argued that the district court miscalculated his criminal history score when it classified his two out-of-state offenses as person crimes, which resulted in a criminal history score of A. The Supreme Court agreed. At resentencing, the district court followed the Supreme Court's mandate and scored Defendant's prior out-of-state convictions as nonperson felonies, resulting in a criminal history score of C. Thereafter, the Supreme Court decided Keel, which overruled State v. Murdock, 323 P.3d 846 (Kan. 2014). The State moved to correct Murdock's sentence, and the district court granted the motion, resentencing Defendant a third time and finding a criminal history score of A. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded with directions to reinstate Defendant's second sentence, holding that Defendant's second sentence was legal when pronounced, and Keel did not render Defendant's second sentence illegal. View "State v. Murdock" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction for premeditated first-degree murder, holding that the district erred in denying Defendant's request for a self-defense instruction and that the error was not harmless. Defendant shot and killed a man following a dispute over a pool game. The Supreme Court reversed his conviction of premeditated first-degree murder for failure to give lesser included offenses instructions. After a retrial, Defendant was again found guilty of premeditated first-degree murder. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court erred in determining that the evidence did not support a self-defense instruction. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Defendant's testimony sufficed to make the self-defense instruction factually appropriate and that the error in denying the instruction was not harmless. View "State v. Qualls" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, holding that no error occurred in the conduct of Defendant's trial that required reversal. The State charged Defendant with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child who was fourteen or more years of age but less than sixteen years of age. The State filed a motion seeking admission of evidence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455(d) that Defendant had been convicted of two sex crimes in Missouri. The court granted the motion, finding that the evidence was material and had probative value. The jury found Defendant guilty. The court of appeals affirmed. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by allowing the State to introduce the fact of his prior Missouri convictions for sex crimes. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the evidence; (2) section 60-455(d) does not violate the Bill of Rights contained in the Kansas Constitution; and (3) the record did not support Defendant's speedy trial claims. View "State v. Razzaq" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, holding that there was no error in the conduct of the trial and that Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455, the statute allowing the introduction of evidence of propensity to commit sex crimes, is not unconstitutional. Defendant was charged with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The trial court granted in part the State's motion to admit evidence of prior conduct under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455 in order to show Defendant's propensity to commit the offense, allowing the State to introduce evidence of Defendant's Nebraska conviction of sexual assault on a nine-year-old neighbor girl. Defendant was subsequently convicted as charged. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 60-455(d) does not violate federal constitutional protections; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the challenged evidence; and (3) Defendant's challenges to his sentence were unavailing. View "State v. Boysaw" on Justia Law

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In this Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act (KSVPA) case, Kan. Stat. Ann. 59-29a01 et seq., the Supreme Court remanded Thomas Easterberg's action seeking a petition for writ of habeas corpus, holding that there was a fact question for the district court to resolve in order to determine whether Easterberg's writ should be granted. Easterberg pled guilty to kidnapping and aggravated battery. On the sentencing guidelines journal entry of judgment for these convictions, the district court indicated that Easterberg's crimes were not sexually motivated for purposes of the Kansas Offender Registration Act, Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4902(c)(14). Thereafter, the Attorney General's Office filed a petition seeking to involuntarily commit Easterberg as a sexually violent predator. Easterberg moved to dismiss the action, arguing that the State had no statutory basis to file the petition for his commitment. The district court denied the motion to dismiss. Easterberg then filed this original action. The Supreme Court remanded this case to the district court for a determination of whether the issue of sexual motivation was litigated in Easterberg's criminal case. If so, the State would be estopped from relegating that point in the KSVPA proceeding and Easterberg would not be eligible for involuntary commitment. If not, the KSVPA proceeding would continue. View "In re Care & Treatment of Easterberg" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions and sentences, holding that the district court did not err. Defendant was convicted of one count of first-degree premeditated murder and one count of arson. The Supreme Court upheld Defendant's convictions but remanded the case for resentencing of Defendant's hard fifty life sentence. After a resentencing hearing, the court sentenced Defendant to a hard twenty-five life sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to dismiss at the resentencing hearing; (2) Defendant was barred from raising ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel claims for the first time on appeal; (3) the district court did not err in denying Defendant's request for exculpatory evidence; and (4) the district court did not engage in judicial misconduct in denying Defendant's right to allocution. View "State v. Salary" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, holding that the district court correctly held that the motion was untimely filed. Defendant filed his motion under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3501, arguing that newly discovered evidence justified a new trial. The district court denied the motion, concluding that, under section 22-3501(1), the motion was out-of-time. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in holding that the two-year period in which the motion for a new trial must be filed began from the date the Supreme Court mandate was issued. Rather, Defendant argued that the final judgment was when the district conducted a "remand hearing." The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the mandate was fully determinative of the issues and therefore rendered the judgment final. View "State v. Phillips" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the summary denial of Appellant’s motion to correct illegal sentence, holding that Appellant’s motion to correct illegal sentence was without merit. Appellant was sentenced to a hard twenty-five life sentence after pleading no contest to rape of a child under the age of fourteen. Several years later, Appellant filed a pro se motion to correct illegal sentence. The district court judge dismissed the motion without holding a hearing. On appeal, Appellant conceded that summary denial of his motion was appropriate but that he was nevertheless entitled to relief. For the first time, Appellant argued that the handling of his pre-plea competency issue deprived the district court of jurisdiction to sentence him. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a motion to correct illegal sentence was an improper vehicle for Appellant’s new challenge. View "State v. Roberts" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of first-degree murder and aggravated assault for stabbing her ten-year-old son to death while suffering from a psychotic episode, holding that there was one instance of prosecutorial error in this case, but it was harmless. On appeal, Defendant challenged the jury instructions concerning her mental disease or defect disease, alleged several instances of prosecutorial error, and claimed that cumulative error warranted reversal of her convictions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant failed to establish instructional error because the instructions did not prevent the jury from considering how Defendant’s mental disease or defect otherwise affected her ability to premeditate; (2) the single instance of prosecutorial error was harmless; and (3) the single error in this case was insufficient to support reversal under the cumulative effect rule. View "State v. Blansett" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law